The open latch

The open latch

Yesterday I pondered the question of whether “outside” or “inside” was preferable.  Is it something wonderful, noble, and inspiring to open the door and walk outside?  Why does this appeal to some of us?  The actuality of spending time outdoors every day for a year strikes a chord of resonance with many of us.  But why?  And is it any better than closing the door and staying inside?

Last winter I felt a strong desire to more deeply explore nature, the outdoors.  It felt like I had been too long indoors, too long cloistered in some internal world, and it was time to bond with rocks, sky, earth, flowers, snow and lake.  (Well, mostly snow and ice for a long time…)

Opening the door felt almost like a symbol, like a metaphor.  After many many years on a spiritual journey, it felt time to quit seeking internally and simply be still and let the Earth teach whatever it had to teach.  My journey this year has been about looking and listening deeply to what the outdoors wants to say.  What the part that is not-Kathy has to share.  (And then Kathy babbles about that…)

Bowl, water, rock and cloud

Bowl, water, rock and cloud

I love the indoors.  Always have.  To travel deeply inward, as deeply inward as one possibly can go.  To read, to think, to dream, to travel to the interior caverns of ourselves.  The feeling of four walls have assisted so much in this inward journey.  They have created a safe space to dream without distraction, to write, to learn, to expand. 

And now, especially after this year, I can say with equal assurance:  I love the outdoors.  The wide open freedom of it.  The mysteries everywhere we turn.  The beauty!  The differences, the patterns, the similarities.  The close-up views and the endless expanses.  I cannot say enough positive about the value of the outdoors.

Fence and red flowers

Fence and red flowers (Bee Balm or Red Monarda)

As humans, we create boundaries.  Fence and stones, latches and keys.  We define spaces.  We call this “out” and this “in”.  We label one aspect better or worse.  I think, at different times, for different people, we’re called “inside” to cloister and shut off  and discover more about our internal world.  For other people, at different times in our lives, we’re moved outside the boundary of our doors to explore the external world with its amazing gifts and mysteries and challenges and beauties.  Some of us move effortlessly between outdoors and indoors, never feeling any separation.

Two different ways of seeing.  Internal.  External.  Both valuable, both necessary.

My friend Catherine's barn...the window open...the bees fly in and out of their home

My friend Catherine's barn...the window open...the bees fly in and out of their home

I like the way both worlds so often mingle in our lives.  We perhaps bring our clothes outside to swing in the fresh air, the wind gently drying the sheets and pillowcases and jeans and towels.

Catherine's laundry drying outside (thanks for letting me take the pictures, Catherine!)

Catherine's laundry drying outside (thanks for letting me take the pictures, Catherine!)

Sometimes we bring the outdoors inside.  Perhaps a bouquet of fresh flowers.  A handful of rocks, or a swirl of birchbark.  Perhaps we fill a basket with cedar and lay it atop our stove.

Basket of cedar on Catherine's stove

Basket of cedar on Catherine's stove

Sure, we can stay cooped up inside too long and stagnate without ever using the walls to our adventage and exploration and creativity.  And, yes, we can remain outside too long only looking at the surface of things, never seeing deeper, ignoring the inner worlds, slave to chores and necessities and thoughts and work.

Or we can somehow learn to be comfortable in both worlds.  We can open the latches and turn the keys, walking inside and outside, outside and inside.

We can move in past the chain link fences which obscure our view and see the naked beauty of what is:

Outside in the garden or inside on the table...it's still beautiful

Outside in the garden or inside on the table...it's still beautiful

P.S.  Catherine and I picked so many raspberries today you wouldn’t believe it!  Cultivated wonderful huge berries thanks to our friend, Deb.  Thanks, Deb!

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